Majoritarian Filibusters

I want to plug to an excellent Note that was just published in the Yale Law Journal.  Benjamin Eidelson does a thorough analysis of Senate filibusters to assess how many of them actually represented states with a majority of voters.  The answer is that it’s not uncommon.  Imagine that 41 Senate Democrats filibuster something, and that group includes the senators from New York, California, and Illinois.  You can see how it is possible that a Senate minority could represent a voting majority.

When I wrote my article on cloture reform two years ago, I acknowledged this possibility but noted that there was no reliable data on that question.  Now there is.

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1 Response

  1. Andrew Selbst says:

    When considering the filibuster in this light, don’t you pretty quickly get to the “Senate is unconstitutional under one person-one vote” point? Or, to invert the question, if we accept that the Senate is a valid institution important to our constitutional order for whatever reasons one might like, don’t we have to take it as a black box? Once we start looking at the actual majority representations, that abstraction that justifies it falls apart.